By: Rebecca Roanhorse
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Gallery/Saga Press
WARNING: There will be spoilers for Black Sun
Serapio didn’t die as he was prophesized to do so by killing Naranpa, the Sun God during the Convergence. Since he did not fulfill his destiny, he lives, as does Naranpa. What will become of Meridian and the city of Tova? In the coming struggle, once again, Rebecca Roanhorse delivers a powerhouse of a fantasy in Fevered Star, the second book in the series, Beneath Earth and Sky. Serapio, The Crow God, or the Odo Sedoh, has succeeded in blocking the sun during the Convergence, plunging Tova into permanent twilight. Naranpa is hiding in Tova among the clanless, knowing that Serapio is looking for her, to complete the prophecy. The dichotomy between the worlds in the two books is brilliant as the story unfolds. Where we once saw the vibrant, beautiful city of Tova, it has now been transformed into a dark version of its former self, with very few people venturing out. Gone are the vivid colors and bustling people that filled the streets and markets. Xiala remains in Tova, knowing Serapio has survived, and she has fallen in love with him. She loves desperately wants to go to him, for Serapio is the gentle, kind, and loving man she brought to Tova. He too longs for Xiala, the one person who saw the man, not the Crow God, and he feels she is his anchor to humanity. In the wake of the Convergence, alliances are being made in support of The Crow God and The Sun God, old alliances are being broken, and new ones forged. Political intrigue and betrayal are rampant. This new Meridian is heading for a showdown of the Gods, and Serapio and Naranpa will likely be at the center. One of unique aspects of this fantasy is the detailed and beautiful world building that draws upon the gods and culture of pre-Columbian America, adding rich, new diversity into the fantasy genre. Fevered Star is a sequel as incredible as the first novel, Black Sun, complete with a gorgeous cover. I highly recommend it.
The story is still set in the world of Meridian, and Tova plays a large part. The city’s sun has been eclipsed by Serapio. Ms. Roanhorse’s prose clearly describes a city on edge; a city whose priests were killed along with the Sun God and they know the Odo Sedoh is responsible. I felt the fear of the residents as they face an unsure future. I felt the near fanaticism of those who begin to flock to the Odo Sedoh. In secret, clans are meeting to support The Sun God, as they know she has survived. They fear the power of Serapio, but others worship and celebrate the return of The Crow God. For Serapio, Ms. Roanhorse paints a picture of a man and a god, each fighting for dominance within him, a constant struggle he is forced to endure. What do people want from him? Do they know the man or the Crow God? Though it all, he longs for Xiala. I felt for Serapio as he was at once a child longing for love, and also the Crow God, only growing more powerful with those around him wanting only the god.
Naranpa’s powers are growing as well, and she does not fully understand how to use them. Unlike Serapio who has been groomed since childhood to fulfill his destiny, she does not understand the god inside her. While many are loyal to her and look to her for guidance, she does not know how to save Tova or even if, as the Sun God, would be able too. Despite her doubts, Naranpa is a strong female protagonist. She makes surprising choices for herself and Tova, that will come to fruition in the final book.
Xiala is forced to flee Tova with Iktan, from the Order of Knives, assassins for the Sun God. They are headed to the City of Hokaia, where a meeting of clans will take place to see what must be done about Serapio and his growing powers. This city was beautifully described. Here, the sun shines, as it was not cast in shadow like Tova. There were many different people, sights, sounds, scents, the homes, and the various city sectors. It is a contrast to Tova, with Hokaia described as Tova once was before the Convergence.The palace was the most dominant structure and is described as looking like a great Mayan Pyramid, with hundreds of steps to walk to get to the top. Ms. Roahorse truly has a gift in how she describes people and places, bringing them to life in such a way that it was easy to picture Tova, Hokaia, and all the places that were encountered. The characters are so well developed and beautifully written, with internal struggles that leave them often wondering who they are and what they will become.
The characters, the world building, the powers of gods are all woven together into this unique and beautiful epic fantasy. Fevered Star is an amazing sequel that takes this story in a new direction that seems to heading towards a battle between the Crow and Sun god. But is there hope that their humanity can fight the god inside and somehow live together and save Tova? I am eagerly awaiting the final book in this exceptional series.
Fevered Star is exactly how a sequel should be done-phenomenally. It continues the epic fantasy that began in Black Sun, picked up right where it left off, and was a gripping, page turning story from the first page. Serapio, the Crow God, still lives as he did not fulfill his destiny to kill the Sun God, Naranpa. As each grows in power, the City of Tova is caught in the cross hairs. Plunged into eternal twilight since the Convergence when Serapio killed the false Sun God and all the priests, the city is changed from its once vibrant atmosphere, to one of quiet apprehension. Alliances for the Crow God and Sun God are forming. People of Tova are flocking to Serapio, many as fervent worshipers, others for power and to serve him. Naranpa as yet does not fully understand all of her power, and does not know if she can save Tova, even as the Sun God. As these alliances are forming, political intrigue ensues, fights for power, and betrayals have begun. Most want to know how to stop a powerful god, when they believe the Sun God is dead. The overall feel to the world was different in terms of the mood, but it was still beautifully told, and the world building excellent. The fantasy aspect is, as mentioned previously, unique it its pre-Columbian focus. The pace was even and exciting, and there was any place where I felt nothing was happening, and it was “filler” to advance the plot. The main characters, Serapio, Xiala, and Naranpa are so well developed and I felt like I wanted to help them realize who they truly are. Rebecca Roanhorse is truly an amazing and brilliant story teller and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
Summary (from NetGalley)
There are no tides more treacherous than those of the heart. —Teek saying
The great city of Tova is shattered. The sun is held within the smothering grip of the Crow God’s eclipse, but a comet that marks the death of a ruler and heralds the rise of a new order is imminent.
The Meridian: a land where magic has been codified and the worship of gods suppressed. How do you live when legends come to life, and the faith you had is rewarded?
As sea captain Xiala is swept up in the chaos and currents of change, she finds an unexpected ally in the former Priest of Knives. For the Clan Matriarchs of Tova, tense alliances form as far-flung enemies gather and the war in the heavens is reflected upon the earth.
And for Serapio and Naranpa, both now living avatars, the struggle for free will and personhood in the face of destiny rages. How will Serapio stay human when he is steeped in prophecy and surrounded by those who desire only his power? Is there a future for Naranpa in a transformed Tova without her total destruction?
My thanks to NetGalley for an eBook ARC in exchange for an honest review
My review of Black Sun
Find out more about Rebecca Roanhorse on her website https://rebeccaroanhorse.com/
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